The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today addressed the inaugural meeting of the Seafood Sector Taskforce, established by the Minister to make recommendations on measures to mitigate the impacts on the Irish Fishing industry, and on the coastal communities that depend on fisheries, of the fish quota share reductions arising from the EU/UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement.
Addressing the Taskforce, Minister McConalogue said, “The outcome of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will lead to a loss of €43 million per year in fish quotas for our fisheries sector, with knock-on effects on marine support industries and our coastal communities. The quota reductions in some of our most important stocks will be felt immediately by our fishing industry when the full annual EU quotas for 2021 are determined shortly. The impacts for Ireland’s fishing sector are disproportionate compared to other Member States and I again call on the Commission and other Member States to find a more equitable solution to the quota transfers to the UK.”
Minister McConalogue added, “I can assure this Task Force that the Government will work to ensure that the fisheries sector, and the coastal communities that depend on it, are supported through the period ahead. The Work of this Task Force will inform funding priorities for the coming years under my Department’s Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 and under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.”
Note to Editors:
Terms of Reference of the Seafood Sector Taskforce
The Seafood Sector Taskforce is chaired by Aidan Cotter, barrister and former CEO of Bord Bia. Mr Cotter will be assisted by a steering group comprised of Margaret Daly - Deputy CEO of seafood processor Errigal Bay Ltd and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide, member of the Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board and former Director of the EPA and Marine Institute.
Chairperson – Aidan Cotter
Steering Group - Margaret Daly and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide
- Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation
- Irish Fish Producers Organisation
- Irish South & West Fishermen’s Organisation
- Irish South & East Fishermen’s Organisation
- Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation PO
- National Inshore Fisheries Forum
- 4 main Fishermen’s Co-operatives (Castletownbere, Foyle, Clogherhead, Galway & Aran)
- Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Organisation
- Irish farmers Association (aquaculture branch)
- Fisheries Local Action Groups (1 representative of the 7 FLAGs)
- Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine
- Bord Iascaigh Mhara (secretariat)
- Bord Bia
- Enterprise Ireland
- Údarás na Gaeltachta
- Tourism Ireland
- Coastal Local Authorities (2)
- Irish Local Development Network
On 25 December 2020, the European Commission published a Proposal for an EU Regulation establishing a Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The objective of the proposed BAR is to provide support to counter the adverse consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union in Member States, regions and sectors, in particular those that are worst affected by that withdrawal, and to mitigate the related impact on the economic, social and territorial cohesion. The draft Regulation is subject to negotiations in the Council and European Parliament and its provisions may change. It is proposed that the BAR would have a budget of €5.37 billion in current prices and the Commission proposal states that approximately €1 billion would be allocated to Ireland in 2021 as pre-financing to assist Ireland in funding appropriate measures in 2021 and 2022 to assist the worst affected sectors of our economy. Any support measures for the seafood sector proposed under Ireland’s BAR allocation need to be considered at a national level in the context of competing demands from other areas of our economy that have been impacted by Brexit. Supports implemented under the BAR are subject to State Aid rules.
In December 2020, political agreement was reached in the negotiation of the new European Maritime, Fisheries & Aquaculture Fund 2021-27and it is anticipated that the EU Regulation will be enacted in April 2021. The EMFAF will provide EU co-funding to Member State operational programmes for the development of their seafood sectors. Ireland is to be allocated €142 million and the overall size of Ireland’s new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 will then be determined by the extent of Government co-funding. The new programme will allow the Minister to implement various support schemes for the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors and for coastal communities. The new Programme will replace Ireland’s present EMFF Programme 2014-20, which has nearly exhausted its funds.